New Delhi:  A day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Council of ministers swearing-in to form the 17th Lok Sabha, outgoing Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday wrote to the PM, asking to be excused from all or any responsibility in the new Cabinet due to his ill health.

He wrote, “I am writing to you to formally request you that I should be allowed a reasonable time for myself, my treatment and my health, and, therefore, not be a part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new Government.”

With rumours flying thick over Jaitley’s health and the government subsequently urging media to refrain from speculation, the outgoing Union minister’s letter has put all whispers to rest.

This also comes in tow of reports that BJP president Amit Shah is being considered for a ministerial post this time, and with Jaitley stepping away, a crucial portfolio has opened for Shah to take over.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah held a marathon meeting on Tuesday to discuss crucial aspects of the new government and the likely allocation of ministerial berths. It was not clear immediately as to what transpired between them, but possibly they discussed the formation of the Council of Ministers.

Sources in the BJP said senior party leaders Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar, Suresh Prabhu, Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, Maneka Gandhi and J.P. Nadda are likely to retain Cabinet berths.

The JD-U and Shiv Sena are likely to get two ministerial berths in the Modi government, one Cabinet berth and one minister of state (MoS) position.

The JD-U is the third largest party in the National Democratic Alliance, after the BJP and Shiv Sena. The BJP has 303 MPs while Shiv Sena has 18 MPs.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal of Akali Dal and Ram Vilas Paswan of LJP are also likely to be inducted in the Modi Cabinet.

Sources said that around 65 leaders may take the oath of office and secrecy along with Prime Minister Modi.


With IANS inputs